Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Maki Gingoyon, aka Maki Eve Mercedes, a Filipino trans woman beauty queen, most well known for winning Queen of Cebu 2010, and being one of the Queens for Super Sireyna 2013. Hello Maki!
Maki: Hey Monika! Thanks for having me on your blog. And it is nice to meet someone like you, a fellow transgender woman making a difference in promoting good image among trans women.
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Maki: I am 24, turning 25 this year, and I am a transgender woman from the Philippines. I studied BS Psychology, unfortunately was not able to finish it due to some family issues. Which challenged me to be independent and work my a** out by applying to call centre, which is a very common job opportunity in the Philippines, especially for 2nd year college students who want to work. That actually helped me to support myself and my transitioning.
And currently I work as a digital online marketing director for a transgender dating site together with my boyfriend.
Maki: I never knew I would compete. In fact being a beauty queen was never my dream. But I guess when you mingle yourself with other transgender women who are also into beauty pageants, it excites you and you want to experience it. Well, at that time I stopped working, which led me to find an alternative way of living.
In the first quarter of 2010 beauty pageants became the answer. Knowing from my friends who were beauty pageant veterans, it could support decent amount of money, well obviously incomparable to call centers but the fact that you had something to buy for food and hormones then that was good.
And by the way I am not talking about big pageants here, I am talking about pageants in small villages (Barangays). But then sadly these kinds of beauty pageants became unpopular because of some odd catholic rules. So I needed to continue working in the call centre. In the same year I had the opportunity to join bigger pageants like Miss Gay Mandaue ( one of the most famous transgender pageant in Cebu, Philippines) where I took the first runner up position.
And I got a chance to travel to Bohol and competed for Miss Gay Sandugo (A big transgender pageant in the city of Bohol) where luckily I got the crown. And lastly the Queen 2010, a pageant for alternative, where I won the the Queen Universe crown.
|In her National Costume during|
Miss Gay Mandaue 2010.
Maki: My last beauty pageant was Super Sireyna 2013. It is quite nostalgic to answer this question, but it is good to reminisce old times. Well I had assistant/make-up artist/manager/. These people are responsible for booking you for a contest, prepare all your stuff and do your make-up. Business wise you need to give something in return either 50/50 from the cash price or 60/40 whichever deal works best. So at that time I just needed to meet my Manager and a very close friend of mine, then off we went to the contest.
After winning Queen 2010, the whole managing thing changed. I wish I still had her but I cannot afford to maintain a manager (LOL). But it wasn’t that difficult; Queen is a pageant that is well supported by local and international Filipino designers. So it was easy to ask some help for gowns and the like. They were very much accommodating and helpful, especially during the Super Sireyna competition. And I owed them a lot!
Monika: What is the atmosphere among pageant ladies? Does the competition influence their behaviour?
Maki: The competition is a fact. I believe you cannot deny that there is that competitive atmosphere. But what is good with a transgender pageant, regardless how competitive it is, the fun is still there. And I believe every transgender beauty queen can relate to this. Especially Filipino transgender women.
Not to mention the fun after the show. There maybe only one winner, sometimes three but the laughs and dramas you shared with the rest of the candidates after the show is priceless. And surely the competition influence our behaviour. It personally moulded me to become a better woman.
Being a beauty queen makes you feel responsible to inspire and influence others. And this type of behaviour is like a blood that will slowly run into your veins and that will define you for who you are.
|Gown competition during Queen 2010.|
Maki: Oh it was magical! (smiling) Queen of Cebu made me the woman that I am now. There were 21 candidates and I was the last but not the least candidate. The moment I came out on the stage for my opening number, I already felt victorious, with over 1000 people watching, who would not feel exceptional?
Not to mention Miss Universe 1973 Margie Moran was one of the judges, I got to give my best. And the moment I was crowned. All I was thinking about was my mom who was not in the audience because she was too scared to watch.
|Crowned as the Queen of the Sky|
during Super Sireyna pageant.
|In blue gown during a small pageant in the village (Barangay).|
And for me yes, transgender women can make a difference in politics. I was once on a student council and surely gender should not be the basis to lead a community.
|Taken in theatre during the Vagina|
I wish to see my self as successful woman with a man at by my side. Sounds too perfect but nothing is impossible. And maybe a bigger dating site that does not only cater for transgender women but for everybody.